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. >>> senate armed services committee could vote on the nomination of chuck hagel to be the next defense secretary. hagel faced off against some former republican senate colleagues yesterday in a bruising confirmation hearing. the sharpest exchange against senator john mccain who criticized hagel's opposition to the troop surge in iraq. and hagel apologized for using the term the jewish lobby in the past. >> i have already said i regret referencing the jewish lobby. i should have said pro israel. i think it is the only time on the record that i have ever said that. >> eight republicans plan to vote against him. he has backing among many democrats. >>> blinding snow blamed for a deadly pileup on a michigan highway. the mile long stretch of crashes involving 30 trucks and cars. three people were killed including two children believed to be siblings. and at least a dozen others were hospitalized. witnesses say they were driving on i-75 when conditions went from clear to whiteout in just a matter of seconds. >>> a similar scene along a snowy highway west of minneapolis. three dozen big rigs,
, an intellect on the level of one of the greats like hagel or plato. >> that was abc's nick schifrin in rome. after benedict says good-bye to the church's cardinals, he flies by helicopter to the papal retreat. he will offer a blessing from the balcony and then shut the door. in his own words, benedict will be hidden for the rest of his life. >>> and it is a very busy morning in rome. and our friends at "gma" are planning complete coverage of this historic day. keep it right here on abc news. >>> our other major story, is massive budget cuts set to begin in less than 24 hour ps. after weeks of warnings, president obama softened his tone about the cuts. instead of a fiscal cliff, the president said it was more like a tumble downward. and he invited congressional leaders to the white house for talks. here's karen travers. >> reporter: the topic was probably unavoidable. today, president obama had a brief meeting, no more than ten minutes, with congressional leaders, about how to avoid the massive spending cuts. they'll sit down on friday at the white house. progress? not so much. the meeting i
our nation's capital tonight. >>> chuck hagel could be approved as defense secretary by the end of the week. the armed services committee voted to send the nomination to the senate. republicans had threatened to block his nomination, but it appears there are enough votes to approve it. >>> we're learning more now about what retirement will be like for pope benedict. the soon-to-be retiree will live in a monastery and will likely give up his beloved theological writing because of his frail health. a spokesman revealed benedict has a pacemaker and recently underwent surgery. >> over the past few years, he's certainly slowed down a bit. you can tell he had trouble negotiating steps. he started using the cane several months ago. not huge things. but a number of smaller ones, which take their toll. >> and still left for the vatican to decide is what exactly the ex-pope will be called. we haven't had an ex-pope in six centuries. >> we have no idea what to do with him. we don't know where to put him. >> it's rare territory for the catholic church. >>> moving on to your wednesday weathe
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